Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ten Chimneys

Before I was gainfully unemployed I worked at Ten Chimneys. It's hard to explain what Ten Chimneys is, easily. It's many things to many people. Originally, Ten Chimneys was the estate of 20th century Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. It was their home, their summer retreat, the place where they created, entertained, and relaxed. Their friends came to stay and enjoy the renowned hospitality of Lynn and Alfred. These were people like Noel Coward, Helen Hayes, Laurence Olivier, Katharine Hepburn and other luminaries of the day.

Lynn and Alfred built Ten Chimneys from the ground up. It is as personal as a diary and holds the history of early 20th Century theatre. Not only that, but it hold their ideals, their values, the things that made them great and can inspire us and future generations to greatness. These values are intangible but important: friendship, creativity, hard work, dedication, family, discipline, reflection, and whimsy, just to name a few.

The place itself is beautiful: 60 acres of rolling hills in the southern Kettle Moraine of Wisconsin. Three picturesque buildings with hand-painted murals and curtains made by the first lady of 20th century American Theatre, Lynn Fontanne. It is important to preserve this space for all of us to remind us of the values, so we can tell the stories and remember.

Ten Chimneys is now an official National Historic Landmark. It is a house museum with tours from May through November. It is a center for the arts where important work in theatre happens to this day, as it did when Lynn and Alfred lived there. Visit in person, or online if you cannot get there. But visit. If you'd like to learn about touring, visit here. If you'd like to donate, click here.



Mel said...


You can bet we have nothing close to this in smalltown Iowa.
Though we do have some great red barnes!

Yeah, yeah......NOT the same, huh? LOL

Terri said...

Ha ha. Not EXACTLY the same.

CyberCelt said...

What a wonderful story and cause.

I remember Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. I think it is great their home was made a National Historic Landmark.

I also realize that does not mean squat when it comes to funding. We should be ashamed for allowing our heritage to go begging.

skeet said...

these two greats of Americna entertainment were of my parents generation and my mother was a huge fan. Their home is indeed a part of our heritage and worthy of support!

J.E. said...

Beautiful! You're right that it's important to preserve these historical places. Thanks for including this post in the carnival!

Terri said...

That's so wonderful that some of you have heard of the Lunts. It is somewhat rare to find that these days. Some people whose parents were fans, often. It is a fabulous place and so near and dear to my heart. It's making me a little homesick for the place and the people to write about it.

Amy said...

This is really cool, Terri. I'd never heard of it before!